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When I set out to write this article about The Croissanterie in Little Rock, it seemed like focusing on their still-new brick-and-mortar was the way to go. Then I started thinking a little more about the business operated by Wendy Schay and Jill McDonald and realized that the two have a lot going on that extends beyond their shop at 14710 Cantrell Road.
For starters, The Croissanterie food truck is still rolling around Central Arkansas. Made popular by serving up croissant-bunned burgers, the mobile eatery maintains a fairly limited presence, although I imagine that will eventually ramp up after the business settles in a bit. Catering is also a strong component for Schay and McDonald, and you also don’t have to look very hard to find their baked goods in area coffee shops and on restaurant menus. Places like Damgoode Pies, The Filling Station, and The Bramble Market all proudly carry pastries from The Croissanterie. I might even be eating a cheese Danish at Guillermo’s Gourmet Coffee while writing this article. So, you get my drift. There are several components to the business, but let’s get back to the storefront.
Last week I popped in for a quick lunch. Looking at my notes, this was my third time at the shop. Quite frankly, the only knock so far has been with limited days (Thursday-Sunday), which I imagine has a lot to do with the other beforementioned projects and a small workforce. Outside of that, there is really nothing not to love about The Croissanterie. This includes a variety of pastries, cookies, and cakes that practically smack you in the face upon entry. If you’re dining in, make sure to grab a cupcake, chocolate croissant, and a slice of carrot cake to-go. I’m a bit of a carrot cake snob and can confirm that this one tops most, if not all, of the competition in Little Rock. Like all great carrot cakes, The Croissanterie’s is super moist, chock full of nuts, and has a thick cream cheese frosting that you’ll be tempted to scrap off and eat with a spoon. They do pre-orders for the entire cake if by-the-slice isn’t enough.
The ladies seem always to be flexing their creative muscles with menu offerings, evidenced by a rotating list of seasonal flavored pastries, edible cookie dough, and various entrees, like a Chimi Pork Sandwich, which I scarfed down on this visit. Per usual, this handheld comes on a flakey, buttery croissant that does a nice job of holding its form–no small feat with the weight and girth of sliced, roasted pork tenderloin, chimichurri sauce, Brie, greens, red onions, and mustard apple butter trying to comprise the structure. Everything about this sandwich worked for me, but I was particularly impressed by the creativity in blending the salty cheese and sweet mustard flavors. Serving the pork slightly chilled was also a nice touch. If pork isn’t your thing, there are other sandwiches like egg salad, BLT, and grilled cheese.
Unfortunately, the burger is only available on weekends, so I missed out this time. No worries, as I’ll be back for one. Again, not a shocker, but The Croissanterie makes its very own croissant bun for its burger. This defining trait, along with using local beef from nearby Jidona Farms, is what separates this burger from the pack.
I still need to swing by for breakfast and brunch. The biscuits and gravy, tomato pie, and quiche are all calling my name. But even if I can’t swing by the shop, something tells me a treat from The Croissanterie is never far away.
They seem to be everywhere.
14710 Cantrell Road (A5) (Little Rock)
Phone: (501) 412-4244
Hours: Thursday & Friday 7 a.m.-2 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
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